The European Athletics U20 Championships has a long and esteemed history dating back to 1970 but European Athletics President Dobromir Karamarinov believes the upcoming championships in Jerusalem from 7-10 August will be the best edition to date.
“This is a historic event. It’s the biggest European athletics event ever in Israel. I want to really thank the Mayor of Jerusalem, the municipality of Jerusalem, the Ministry of Sport and Culture, the Local Organising Committee and the Israeli Athletics Federation
“Together with European Athletics we are ready to deliver the best ever European Athletics U20 Championships,” said President Karamarinov at the pre-event press conference on Sunday (6) morning.
Karamarinov reiterated his gratitude to all parties who have made the staging of the event possible at relatively short notice after the initial host city of Cluj-Napoca withdrew last year.
“This is a natural legacy of the incredible success of the European Athletics U18 Championships. Jerusalem was not the original host of the championships - Jerusalem helped European Athletics in a difficult moment. In less than one year, we have prepared to deliver these championships.
“This shows our unity, solidarity and how we are ready to serve the athletes,” said Karamarinov, who acknowledged some of the medallists at these championships which will be streamed live on the All-Athletics platform are likely to feature the senior podium at the Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships from 7-12 June.
Just under 1200 athletes from 44 Member Federations will be competing at the Givat Ram Stadium from 7-10 August including 27 individual winners from last year’s European Athletics U18 Championships which also took place in Jerusalem.
The Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion is looking forward to welcoming athletes from all across Europe to Jerusalem for the second time in the space of just over a year.
“This is a city where dreams and miracles come true. There is no better place to hold an international celebration of sport, bringing people together from 44 nations to compete, to meet and make their dreams come true.
“Last year we hosted the U18 Championships with great success. This championships is the natural next step for Jerusalem. Our newly renovated stadium in Givat Ram is one of the most advanced in the world and we are proud to welcome you to this great city,” said Lion.
President of Local Organising Committee Ami Baran hopes the championships will serve the dual purpose of further establishing Israel’s presence on the athletics map and inspiring the next generation of Israeli sportspeople.
“I’d like to welcome all our European friends. I believe this event will be one to remember and for sure, will be another stepping stone for Israeli athletics to grow and to become a leader in European athletics.
“The championships will be a spectacular event which we hope will inspire Israel's youth to join the athletics world and reach limits they never thought would be achievable,” said Baran.
These thoughts were very much echoed by the CEO of Israel TOTO Meir Bardugo who also pledged his commitment to supporting and developing sport in the country.
“We are convinced as we start an Olympic year, this tournament will motivate us all and develop Israeli sport.
“This summer has been nothing short of historic for Israeli sport thanks to the achievements of our young football and basketball team and Israel’s gold medal-winning sprinter Blessing Afrifah,” he said.
The European Athletics U20 Championships begin at 8.15am local time (CET+1) on Monday (7) and will be streamed live through the All-Athletics platform on the European Athletics website.
Steven Mills for European Athletics